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How Wellness Programs Improve Employee Mental Health

happy woman on computer in an office

As we approach the New Year, health and wellness is top of mind. It’s no secret that happy and healthy employees perform better at work and go home with less stress. For this reason, workplace wellness programs are putting an emphasis on mental health.

How It Works

Corporate wellness programs go a long way in improving employees’ overall wellness. Through initiatives highlighting fitness, money management, lunch and learns and so on, the wellness programs are able to not only tap into the physical health of employees, but also their mental health.

Through classes, informational sessions and even exercise, employees are able to go home with less stress and in some cases, more knowledge on issues that they may be facing at home.

On top of improved employee health and wellbeing, the company can also see improvements through attendance and heightened morale in the office. And that morale and positive energy is contagious.

Learn more about workplace wellness.*

A Case Study

In a study published in Occupational Medicine, more than 850 UCLA employees enrolled in a 12-week workplace wellness program that focused on exercise and nutrition. The employees, ages 21 to 69, were asked to attend three trainer-led fitness classes per week.

They were also given optional access to weekly nutritional coaching classes. At the start of the program, the researchers used a series of surveys to assess several aspects of employee mental health. These included stress levels, energy levels, social satisfaction, quality of life and self-efficacy — or the ability to succeed at new tasks.

The Findings

When the program was over, the employees took those same surveys again. And after 12 weeks of moving more and making healthier food choices, participants reported feeling significantly less stressed and more energized. They were happier with their quality of life and their social roles.

Happier, Healthier Employees

Happier employees mean a more positive work environment. But that’s far from the only benefit — better mental health can translate to higher productivity on the job, the researchers at UCLA said. People tend to be better at thinking creatively and solving problems when they’re less stressed.

For employers: Wellness programs are regulated by federal and state law. Consult your legal counsel before implementing any program component.

Marygrace Taylor

Marygrace Taylor is is an award-winning health, wellness, and nutrition writer whose work has appeared in Glamour, Redbook, Prevention, and Women’s Health. You can follow her on Twitter @mgtylr, or at

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Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.

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